Bite Size Book Reviews

I have some kindle freebies in this week’s list!   (Correct as of this article. Check the price before ordering)

It’s an even more eclectic collection than usual, with settings in first century Rome, 1880 New York City, turn-of-the-21st-century Egypt, and pre-civil war Missouri as well as modern American settings.  Audiobook, kindle and paperback!

    

chasing the lion1. Chasing the Lion, audiobook by Nancy Kimball

**This reader is one of the best I have ever heard. The audio version is a finalist in the 2015 Audiobook Publisher’s Association Audio awards in the Inspy/Faith-Based Fiction category**

The Christianity in this book is a primary theme.  It’s set in 35AD, when Christianity was serious business. The romance was developed gradually and naturally. Again, faith played a pivotal role in all of the book’s relationships. The violence was horrific at times, but it was appropriate to the setting of the book, as were the attitudes toward slavery and (very minor) descriptions of sexual behaviors.

This was a long audiobook – 15 hours! – but definitely worth listening to.

 

edge of light2. The Edge of Light, kindle, by Ann Shorey

This was an interesting antebellum novel set in Missouri, among slaveholding middle-class tradesmen. We often see slavery associated with wealthy landowners, so this was a fresh and insightful portrayal of the culture. The heroine is a believable character, and I liked the way her understanding of slavery and humanity changed near the end of the book. That was a skillful transition.

 

 

 

hazardous duty3. Hazardous Duty, audiobook by Christy Barritt

FREE and buy the audio version for $1.99

The first in a series about a crime scene cleaner, this book was fun and entertaining. The heroine’s attitudes about her career, education, and life-in-general seem natural. I enjoyed her persistence as she tried to participate in the investigation of the crime but was repeatedly ignored or thwarted. The mystery was solved at the end of the story, but the relationships left me looking forward to the rest of the Squeaky Clean series.

 

 

gentleman of her dreams4. Gentleman of Her Dreams, kindle by Jen Turano

FREE!

This sweet little novella is a companion novel to “A Change of Fortune” from the “Ladies of Distinction” series. It’s a fun, silly short story, full of entertaining incidents, misunderstandings and conversation between the hero and heroine. The hero returned from overseas to find his old friend is as engaging and willful as she was when he left two years ago. It’s an intriguing introduction to the full-length novels in this series!

 

 

woman of fortune5. A Woman of Fortune, kindle by Kellie Coates Gilbert

This novel was different from anything I have read lately. The main characters are a husband and wife who share genuine affection; even when we realize that the husband is a criminal and has put his wife in a terrible situation, we have no doubt that he loves her and his children. The reader regrets his crimes but hopes for a happy ending for the family. The character of the younger son who steps up to be a strong help to his mother is particularly appealing.

 

 

laughter of dead kings6. The Laughter of Dead Kings, paperback by Elizabeth Peters

This is the final book in the Vicki Bliss series. That makes me sad, in a way, but I am glad the author got it all wrapped up before she died. Her real name was Barbara Mertz, and she held a PhD in Egyptology, so the two Vicki Bliss books set in Egypt seem to have more creative plots. Vicki hasn’t changed significantly from the first book. Her relationship with the hero is stabilized, and she has learned to respect her boss – finally! – but her character never developed any depth. This novel would be hard to enjoy as a stand-alone book, because it doesn’t give much background about the characters. It has fun links to the Amelia Peabody series by the same author, but if you ARE familiar with that series, there is no mystery. Overall, the ending of the Vicki Bliss series was satisfactory. I will miss Ms. Peters. Her books have been a blessing to me for 25 years. Note – this book is not written by a Christian author and the characters are not Christians. There is no description of sexual behavior, but you know it’s happened. The language is not terrible, but neither is it perfectly clean.

 

Bite-Size Book Reviews

It was another week or reading and rereading some of my favorite authors. I even read a nonfiction book!

 

rose of winslow street1. The Rose of Winslow Street, audiobook, by Elizabeth Camden

Another creative historical romance from this author. The heroine and the boys are good characters. I liked the way the hero was training up his sons, and his ability to identify fragrances was interesting, but otherwise he wasn’t very appealing. (That doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book; I don’t judge a book by whether or not I personally like the characters.) There is a secondary storyline about the father and his inventions that leads to changes in family dynamics – nicely done! My favorite scene in the novel is when the hero meets his next door neighbor and they compare battle scars. Funny!

 

 

2. Back on the Streets, paperback, by Deborah RossBack on the streets

This nonfiction book is a testimony of God’s redemption. The author’s story of childhood poverty, neglect and abuse – and the healing, transforming grace and power of God – should be read by every human being. I met Deborah at a local ACFW meeting and purchased her book directly; it is not easily available. There is a printable order form at John Ross Ministries, or it can be purchased at Elmbrook Church in Brookfield, WI. I found a few used copies on Amazon. I recommend it highly.

 

 

trojan gold3. Trojan Gold, paperback, by Elizabeth Peters

Another fun Vicky Bliss story, pretty much the same as the others. This one is about the Trojan gold jewelry discovered by Heinrich Schliemann and apparently lost in WWII. Someone has found it, lures Vicky and her pals to the site of the adventure, tries to kill them, etc… etc… etc…

 

 

 

 

against all odds4. Against All Odds, audiobook, by Irene Hannon

This is a cleverly-written story with a plot rooted in Mideastern diplomacy and terrorism. The male characters in this series are enjoyable, and I liked this level-headed heroine. She was annoyed and resistant to the intrusion of FBI protection, but once it was made clear that the threat was real, she was cooperative without being overly submissive or hysterical. One thing Ms. Hannon does very well is write of interactions between Christians and non-believers.

 

 

 

presumption of death5. Presumption of Death, audiobook, by Jill Paton Walsh and Dorothy Sayers

This isn’t a good stand-alone book; all of the best scenes depend heavily on a knowledge of the main characters and their history. If you know and like the Lord Peter books, this one is rich with the matured characters living in their country home at the start of WWII. I liked it very much. It feels like Dorothy Sayers, but it was finished by Jill Paton Walsh and published posthumously.

 

 

 

rush of wings6. A Rush of Wings, audiobook, Kristen Heitzmann

This is the first in the “Rush of Wings” series. Mountains, horses, cowboys. The heroine seemed to be in a daze for most of this book. While this was frustrating for the other characters (and me), it is appropriate to the plot. The rugged hero is so attractive that the reader doesn’t realize his failings until he becomes aware of them himself. Ms. Heitzmann’s skill is seen most clearly in the character of Michael. His gradual and inevitable self-destruction, woven into the larger story, is heartbreaking even when he is most villainous. Great writing.

 

 

I should be able to see a correlation between how much cleaning and sewing I have accomplished and number of audiobooks I have read that week, right?  The house is pretty tidy. I’ve been doing some almost-spring cleaning – finally got all of the Christmas boxes back up to the attic – and a little baking.

I made several cards this week and some knitting, but I’ve been slacking in the sewing room. I worked on a quilt for myself, but I need to get some more quilts made for etsy. I’m not making enough money as a writer than I can quit my day job just yet!

Bite-size Book Reviews

Do you like audiobooks? I get so much more work done, around the house and in my sewing room, if I have an audiobook to listen to! I could never just sit down and listen to one, but I like them when I’m working or driving or at the gym!

 

 

dawn of christmas1. Dawn of Christmas, audiobook, by Cindy Woodsmall

The main characters in this book are not your average Amish folks. The heroine is interesting, obedient and also willful. When she meets a like-minded man, they construct a false courtship scenario to escape the pressures of their family-oriented community. They like each other, but they have trouble trusting each other. In addition to being an entertaining novel, it’s a thought-provoking story about lies, relationships, and seeking God’s will. I liked this book.

 

 

the daughter of time2. Daughter of Time, paperback, by Josephine Tey

RETRO READ! Last week, I micro-reviewed Elizabeth Peters’s novel, The Murders of Richard III. It was a fun read, but it made me want to investigate further. As a homeschooling mother, I enjoyed teaching history to my sons, but none of us remember the War of the Roses in any detail (or with any enthusiasm.) So instead of going back to the textbooks, I turned to more fiction. Josephine Tey is one of my collected authors, so I already own this book, which always ranks high on the lists of “best mysteries ever written.” The main character, Inspector Grant, has been injured and is lying in the hospital for the entire book, waiting for a young American researcher to bring him bits and pieces of historical documents and reports. Their investigation gradually convinces them that contrary to every textbook and accepted belief, Richard the III was innocent of the crime of murdering the two princes. The reader is walked through the same deductions as the inspector. There are very few secondary characters, but each of them is vivid and contributes to the story. One of my favorites.

 

into the whirlwind3. Into the Whirlwind, audiobook, by Elizabeth Camden

Another Camden book with unusual settings and characters: A woman who owns a clock-making business and hires disabled vets, a driven lawyer for an upscale department store owned by a rich and powerful family, immigrants from Central Europe, and the Chicago fire of 1871. The best part of the story was the fire and what happened afterward. Her books are so creative!

 

 

 

silhouette in scarlet4. Silhouette in Scarlet, paperback, by Elizabeth Peters

The Vicky Bliss series is almost as entertaining as Amelia Peabody’s. This one is set in Sweden, and the local characters are perfect. There are a confusing lot of bad guys in this story. Vicky is a modern feminist woman (in 1983) and the hero, John, is consistent with his character through the series; I recommend you read these books in order, starting with “Borrower of the Night”, to understand the relationships. As always, I enjoyed the settings and information about art history. Fun!
Afterthought: Does a publication date of 1983 make this book a RETRO READ? Ouch… I hope not.

 

predator5. Predator, audiobook,  by Terri Blackstock

This book ought to make parents more aware of what their children are sharing online. I hope it does! Terry Blackstock creates strong plots that force the reader to face the crisis of the characters. The characters often behave foolishly, and they aren’t all likable, but as we continue reading, we realize that we might behave in exactly the same way! I think that’s great writing.

 

 

 

a bride in the bargain6. Bride in the Bargain, audiobook, by Deeanne Gist

There are a lot of fun things in this entertaining book. The best part of the story are the scenes and characters at the lumber camp; the descriptions of logging are fascinating. But… I am old-fashioned and a bit of a prude. There was too much sexual tension and stroking and kissing and yearning in this “Christian romance”. Even if they had been married, I certainly don’t need to know all that stuff. TMI!!!

 

 

 

 

Do you have different expectations when you read a book written by a Christian author? I do, especially when I am listening to audiobooks instead of words on paper or a kindle. When I come across inappropriate content in words, I can skim over it, but when I have earbuds in my ears and the TMI stuff (or obscenity!) is spoken directly into my brains, it’s pretty bad.  It makes me more careful about which authors I listen to.

Christian fiction doesn’t have to be sterilized to be clean. Some authors use words like realistic, edgy or spicy to describe a book with foul language and erotic content, but many authors are writing excellent suspense and even romance without resorting to such tactics.

Bite-Size Book Reviews

 

I had sewing and cleaning to do this week, so I have more audiobooks than printed ones, and it’s quite a variety of genres! This collection has a little of everything: Historical fiction, action/adventure, Amish romance, a fun mystery and a classic detective story from Agatha Christie!  Which is your favorite genre? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

against the tide1. Against the Tide, audiobook, by Elizabeth Camden

“Against the Tide” is the first Elizabeth Camden book I have read. It’s set in Boston at the turn of the 20th century. This novel is creative at every step – the heroine is a Turkish orphan, the hero was raised by the villain, she works as a translator for the military and he fights the opium trade. It depicts the financial insecurity of middle-class workers (especially women)in that era, drug addiction in children and adults, and significant religious differences between the two main characters. Wow. I immediately picked up another of her novels and will review that one later.

 

n or m2. N or M? paperback, by Agatha Christie

RETRO READ! This is the third of Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence detective novels. The first, “The Secret Adversary”, was set immediately after WWI, and this one is during WWII. They are delightful characters, consistent with their younger selves in the previous book. The setting is pure Agatha Christie – a small small seaside town with a ring of Fifth Columnist spies. Their interactions with their young adult children will appeal to sympathetic middle-aged readers. Fun book, but read “The Secret Adversary” first.

 

 

courting cate3. Courting Cate, audiobook, by Leslie Gould

This was a fun read, with parallels to “The Taming of the Shrew.” I liked the second half of the book best; it was good to see how quickly the heroine matured under hardship. She and the hero seemed very natural in that part of the story, with realistic emotional responses to the situation. The hero’s character, in particular, was well-developed: he was a little resentful and angry at times, which led him to be stubborn, and embarrassed by his parents but completely committed to fulfilling his responsibilities to them. Because I am familiar with The Taming of the Shrew, I anticipated the ending of the story, and I wasn’t disappointed.

 

 

adoring addie4. Adoring Addie, audiobook, by Leslie Gould

This book is based on “Romeo and Juliet.” (Fortunately, this one has a happier ending than the original.) It is a more substantial book than “Courting Cate”. The author addresses some heavier issues than are usually seen in Amish fiction; on the surface, the parents appear to be unreasonable and demanding, but the author’s portrayal of the mother’s psychological/emotional problems is sensitive, creating a character who is quite complex. The father is also a surprisingly sympathetic character, as he struggles to be loyal to a difficult wife and worries about his son’s alcoholism. In my opinion, the love affair is less interesting than the relationships and situations of the other characters.

 

mirage5. Mirage, audiobook, by Clive Cussler and Jack Du Brul

All of Cussler’s books are great fun, but The Oregon Files is my favorite series. This one is very much the same as the others, except that more information about the good guys is revealed to the bad guys, perhaps changing the dynamic of the series from now on. One of the things I enjoy most about Cussler is the way he takes extravagant “artistic liberties” with world history but goes into great detail about the history of ships, cars and engines. You can trust him to be 100% accurate with the existing ones and be theoretically sound about the ones he makes up.

 

murders of richard6. The Murders of Richard III, paperback, by Elizabeth Peters

I like Elizabeth Peters’s novels. They are not great fiction; the characters – even the heroines – are not always likable, but I enjoy her books. Jacqueline Kirby is not a likable heroine. She’s a bit tedious, with her stereotypical feminist attitude and condescension, but that makes her a great “straight guy” for setting off fantastic situations and odd people. In this one, she is surrounded by members of a fanatical Richardian society in full historical regalia, determined to vindicate their revered and maligned Richard the III. Jacqueline jumps into the role-playing and dashes around fixing all the crises. It’s silly. It’s fun. Now my interest is piqued, and it’s time to reread Josephine Tey’s “Daughter of Time.”

 

So which one do you think you would like best? Let me know!

Bite-size Book Reviews – Cathe’s Weekly Reading Digest

tomorrowssun

Bite-size, digest… Get it? An intestinal play on words there… and my kids say I have no sense of humor. HA!

I did quite a bit of writing this week, especially as I participated in Jeff Goins’s Intentional Blogging Challenge, but I still managed to read several books. This week’s books were all mystery/suspense, in a variety of styles, from different time periods.

 

  1. “Not Quite Dead Enough and Booby Trap”, both audio, by Rex Stout

Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin make fun reading while I am sewing. Rex Stout’s stories span several decades; these two are set during WWII, and that seemed to give them more substance. Michael Pritchard reads most of these books. I like them.

  1. “Baggage Claim”, kindle, by Amanda Tru

This short book was all action. The characters jumped right in, ran hard until the end and then it ended. The chase was exciting, but I never got to know the characters. Not a bad book, though. Hopefully it’s only the introduction to a series that will have longer stories and more character development. I would read the series. I really only downloaded it because I am writing a story with that same name and I was curious to see if we had similar plots. We don’t.

  1. “Breach of Trust”, kindle, by DiAnn Mills

Christian fiction. DiAnn Mills’s novels are very well-researched, with solid plots that don’t get sacrificed for the sake of a romantic, wrap-it-up ending. She’s not afraid to pull punches, either. I was surprised, several times, and wondered how the author would make it all work out. I can always count on DiAnn Mills for a good story.

  1. “A Key to Death”, hardcover, by Richard and Frances Lockridge

Retro Read! Traditional detective story, published in 1954. A well-plotted murder mystery featuring Mr. and Mrs. North and a law firm that’s rapidly losing senior partners. This one had several twists. Because I have read it before, I knew the ending, but it’s not a predictable solution!

 

CURRENTLY READING:

  1. “Trojan Odyssey”, audio, by Clive Cussler

I’ve read this one before. Mr. Cussler does some audacious things with history – and he almost gets us to wonder if it really happened that way! Dirk Pit saves the world yet again. The nice thing about listening to Clive Cussler novels is that I don’t have to pay close attention. If he mentions a boat, he will tell you when and where it was built, by whom, who commissioned it and for what purpose, what kind of engine it has and why that is a good/bad choice. So if I miss a few minutes, it was probably just description. I like these stories, though. They are clean fun. The bad guys are really bad and the good guys are really good.

  1. “Tomorrow’s Sun”, kindle, by Becky Melby

Christian fiction. I am enjoying this one. It’s a little strange, because it’s set in my own town, and the author really knows the area. At one point, the characters raced within a few blocks of my home, on their way to the hospital. I’m glad they knew the shortcut, or they would never have made it there in time! It’s set in two time periods (don’t worry – no time travel, just two sets of people who lived in the same house, one during the Civil War and one in the present.) The modern hero and heroine of this story are startlingly realistic. As I read the story, their personalities, convictions and motivations seem perfectly natural to me. I look forward to finishing it soon.

  1. “Legend in Green Velvet”, paperback, by Elizabeth Peters

I haven’t read anything by Elizabeth Peters in a couple years, but I pulled some of her books off the shelves for my last blog post and was hooked into this one. It’s one of her stand-alone books, with the usual smart-aleck characters in improbably situations. I love it. She’s one of my favorite authors.

Ten Quotations From a Fictional Role Model

Amelia Peabody is a fictional character.
Amelia Peabody is a fictional character.
Amelia Peabody is a fictional character.

That makes me so sad! For many years, she was my role model. I wanted to be Amelia Peabody. It wasn’t just that she had an adventurous life; she was an amazing woman! She inspired me to be brave and tackle my problems, whether they were minor difficulties or seemingly insurmountable. She was a feminist who didn’t make me feel uncomfortable. She truly adored and respected her husband. Her attitude toward her son… well, that was an inspiration to me during my mothering years. I appreciated her honesty – and sometimes her tactful discretion. (oops, right. Fictional character.)

I read my first Elizabeth Peters book, Naked Once More, 26 years ago. I remember it clearly – I moved through the entire day with that clunky hardcover book in front of me, propped up on the counter while I made sandwiches for lunch and washed dishes. Okay, that’s a lie. I didn’t wash dishes that day. I read it while nursing the baby, totally ignoring that sweet little face. I turned on the television and let the boys watch cartoons all afternoon so I could sit on the couch and read. When I closed that book, I called a girlfriend and raved about it. She said (oh, so casually!) that she preferred the Amelia Peabody books. I packed up the kids and we walked to the library, where I borrowed the first two of them.

That fictional character changed me. She was an intrepid 30-ish woman who traveled to Egypt and married an equally intrepid archeologist. They had a lively and unconventional family and continued their adventures in Egypt until the end of the first World War. With Emerson’s bare hands and Amelia’s stout parasol, they battled master criminals, nefarious archeologists and tomb robbers, and a number of villainesses. And they adored each other.

I am limiting myself to ten “Amelia” quotes. The seven scenes are a bonus.

1. When one is striding bravely into the future, one cannot watch one’s footing.

2. Though I had slept only a few hours, I felt quite fresh and full of ambition. Righteous indignation has that effect on my character.

3. Though I have encountered mad dogs, Master Criminals, and murderers of both sexes, I consider the raising of Ramses my most remarkable achievement.

4. Emerson was clearly in one of his masterful moods. I always allow him to enjoy them unless I feel it is necessary to set him straight…

5. Abstinence, as I have often observed, has a deleterious effect on the disposition.

6. A lady cannot be blamed if a master criminal takes a fancy to her.

7. Heretofore all my criminal investigations had occurred in the Middle East, so I had never had occasion to visit New Scotland Yard.

8. I always say that if one cannot have a pyramid, a nice deep tomb is the next best thing.

9. A noble ideal, and one with which I thoroughly agree-in principle. Noble ideals are often inconvenient.

10. At the age of three Ramses had informed us that he did not need a nanny and would not have one…. I did not agree with him. He needed something–a stout healthy woman who had trained as a prison wardress, perhaps–but it had become more and more difficult to find nannies for Ramses. Presumably word had spread.

 

Two of my favorite scenes from the first book, The Crocodile on the Sandbank:

“We are not acquainted,” said the person called Emerson, in a slightly modified shout. “And if you make any attempt to introduce us, Maspero, I shall fell you to the ground!”
Emerson, not wanting to become acquainted with Amelia

“My mummy! You have stolen my mummy! By Gad, Peabody, this time you have gone too far! I’ve watched you; don’t think I have been unwitting of your machinations! My pavement, my expedition, my brother’s loyalty, even my poor, helpless carcass have fallen victim to your meddling: but this — this is too much! You disapprove of my work, you want to keep me feeble and helpless in bed, so you steal my mummy! Where is it? Produce it at once, Peabody, or—”
Emerson, resisting his inevitable attraction to Amelia

From The Snake, the Crocodile, and the Dog:

Emerson: Give me your solemn word that you will not go wandering around the cliffs, or anywhere else, alone. If you receive a message asking for your help, or offering to show you where a valuable antiquity is hidden—

Amelia: Why, Emerson, you make me sound like some silly Gothic heroine instead of the sensible, rational woman you know me to be. When have I ever done such a thing?

From The Last Camel Died at Noon:

Emerson: “I am a man of iron control, Peabody, as you know, but I fear my control would snap if someone laid violent hands on my son. And you—I well remember what you did on an earlier occasion, when you believed Ramses had been seriously injured.”

Amelia: “You keep referring to that occasion and I keep telling you I have not the slightest recollection of behaving in such an ill-bred fashion.”

From The Deeds of the Disturber:

“Now, Mama, Papa, and sir,” said Ramses, “please withdraw to the farthest corner and crouch down with your backs turned. It is as I feared; we will never break through by this method. The walls are eight feet thick. Fortunately I brought along a little nitroglycerin—”

From The Lion in the Valley:

Amelia: I am distressed about Ramses, Emerson. To have our son misbehave so badly, just when I had hoped to get through one voyage without incident . . . how many boys of eight I wonder, have been threatened with keelhauling by the captain of a British merchant vessel?

Emerson: That was merely the captain’s bluff, maritime exaggeration. He would not dare do such a thing. You are not concerned about Ramses Peabody; he does that sort of thing all the time, and you ought to be accustomed to it.

Amelia: This sort of thing, Emerson? Ramses has done a number of unspeakable things, but to the best of my knowledge this is the first time he has instigated a mutiny.

Emerson: Nonsense! Simply because a few ignorant seamen misunderstood his lectures on the theories of that fellow Marx—

From He Shall Thunder in the Sky:

My prayers that Sunday morning may have had a somewhat peremptory tone. Emerson was dressing when I rose from my knees.
“Finished?” he inquired.
“I believe I covered all the necessary points.”
“It was a comprehensive lecture,” Emerson agreed.

My favorite passage from all of the books is from He Shall Thunder in the Sky, after Amelia overhears her son being rejected by the girl he loves:

“Oh, my dear, don’t pretend,” I said. My voice was unsteady; “I am so sorry, Ramses. How long have you…”

“Since the moment I set eyes on her. Fidelity,” Ramses said, in the same cool voice, “seems to be a fatal flaw of our family.”

“Oh, come,” I said, accepting the cigarette he offered and allowing him to light it for me. “Are you telling me you have never—er…”

“No, Mother dear, I am not telling you—er—that. I discovered years ago that lying to you is a waste of breath. How the devil do you do it? Look at you—ruffles trailing, gloves spotless—blowing out smoke like a little lady dragon and prying into the most intimate secrets of a fellow’s life. Spare me the lecture, I beg. My moments of aberration—and there were, I confess, a number of them—were attempts to break the spell. They failed.”

“But you were only a child when you saw her for the first time.”

“It sounds like one of the wilder romances, doesn’t it? Most authors would throw in hints of reincarnation and souls destined for one another down the long centuries… It wasn’t so simple as I have made it sound, you know, or as tragic. A weakness for melodrama is another of our family failings.”

“Tell me,” I urged. “It is unhealthy to keep one’s feelings to oneself. How often you must have yearned to confide in a sympathetic listener!”

“Er—quite,” said Ramses.

“Does David know?”

“Some of it.” Glancing at me, Ramses added, “It wasn’t the same, naturally, as confiding in one’s mother.”

“Naturally.”

I said no more. I could feel his need to unburden himself; experienced as I am in such matters, I knew that sympathetic silence was the best means of inducing his confidences. Sure enough, after a few moments, he began.

I used to be amazed and a little offended by negative reviews of the Amelia Peabody books. I couldn’t believe that anyone would find them boring or improbable. After a while, I realized that the books aren’t great literature. I don’t find them boring, but I will admit that the last few of them weren’t as good as the first twelve or so. It didn’t matter to me, because I was finding the aging Amelia just as inspiring as the younger Amelia. After all, I was aging, too, and she had so much to teach me! (Fictional character, Cathe!!)

I’ve read all of the Elizabeth Peters books at least twice – probably four or five times, but that’s not bad for 25 years of reading. When the audiobooks were published, I was resistant. I already heard the voices in my head and I didn’t want them to be overridden by someone else’s interpretation of Amelia and her family. But I love to be read to, and eventually I caved in. I was not disappointed. Barbara Rosenblat’s reading was perfect. Every character was perfect. She was consistent, through all of the series, even as the characters aged. In fact, I don’t think I ever read the last few books; I just got the audiobooks.

I have to say… these are not Christian fiction. Amelia’s Christianity was of the cultural variety. Her opinions were a bit unorthodox even for the cultural Christianity of the day, but in Egypt, where they knew her to be a Christian, her behavior would have exemplified the best qualities of Christians. She was kind and generous and respectful of other people, even assisting widows and orphans in their distress! Her husband and children rose up and called her blessed. What a woman!

Unfortunately, she was just a fictional character. *sigh*

What fictional characters have affected you, your personality, your character?